​​NHL positioning to potentially move Coyotes to Salt Lake City for 2024-25: Sources

The NHL is positioning itself to potentially move the Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City in time for the 2024-25 season, and informed its Board of Governors of the situation with a reporting memo Wednesday, according to multiple sources who have read the note.

The situation report, according to these sources, indicates that the situation has many moving parts and emphasizes that no decisions have been finalized. Multiple league sources cautioned against viewing the relocation to Utah as a done deal, while confirming those discussions are taking place. While stressing that work remains to be done, a source said things could escalate quickly.

The Coyotes will finish their second season at 4,600-seat Mullett Arena next week, and owner Alex Meruelo is still trying to finalize his plans to build an NHL-quality facility in Arizona.

The organization announced last week that it intends to win a June 27 state land auction on a 110-acre tract in Phoenix that could house a new arena and district entertainment, but league sources said that even if Meruelo was able to win that auction, it would be at least three years before the Coyotes could play there.

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Meanwhile, the NHL has a ready-made solution in Salt Lake City. Billionaire Ryan Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith Entertainment Group, owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake in MLS, has formally asked the NHL to begin an expansion process in January so it can bring a team in Utah. According to a source close to the matter, SEG is not in direct talks with the Coyotes. Communication flows throughout the NHL.

If the sale goes through, SEG told the league it could begin playing immediately, on a temporary basis, at the Delta Center, which has a capacity of about 14,000 for hockey, or after the completion of a new arena to be built in the city.

Salt Lake City has launched a bid to host the 2034 Winter Olympics.

It didn’t go unnoticed that Smith sent out a tweet Monday asking fans to submit potential nicknames for an NHL team.

An SEG spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday.

“The league continues to work on a solution to what has been a difficult and difficult situation,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Athleticism. “But we are unable to make any further comments.”

If the NHL leaves Arizona, the area will immediately be considered a prime location for future expansion, assuming Meruelo or someone else can get a suitable building constructed.

The region became a hotbed of minor hockey and produced, among other players, the current NHL scoring leader, Auston Matthews. It is also a major media market.

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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